The phrase "The Jews" (The Jews) jumped up the list of trending topics on Twitter Tuesday following an antisemitic tweet by none other than the owner and CEO of the social network, Elon Musk.
Musk tweeted that billionaire George Soros reminds him of Magneto, the villain from the X-Men comic series, and claimed without providing explanation that the Hungarian-American Holocaust survivor "hates humanity." Musk's outburst at the 92-year-old Soros came shortly after the announcement that Soros' hedge fund sold all of its holdings in Tesla, which Musk heads – about 132,000 shares. We reached out to Twitter for a comment and received the company's automated reply to journalists – a smiling poop emoji.
The Jewish Soros is considered a red flag in the eyes of right-wing organizations around the world and he stars in antisemitic conspiracy theories. He was previously accused of being a Nazi (a claim disproved in a 2020 Reuters investigation), and according to other conspiracy theories he tried to flood Budapest with refugees and start a civil war in the U.S.
Magneto, the character Musk compared him to, is based on a Jewish Holocaust survivor. Magneto's character in the comics ranges from a supervillain and bitter enemy of the X-Men to an anti-hero and even a hero after atoning for his sins. Magneto, also known as Eric Magnus Lensherr, is a mutant with supernatural abilities to control the magnetic field of his environment. He believes he is working for utopia and justice out of concern for the mutant race.
Musk's tweet immediately resulted in a flood of antisemitic conspiracy theories on Twitter.
The head of the digital division of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, David Saranga, responded to the whole affair with a long tweet: "'The Jews' is currently trending on Twitter and is full of antisemitic conspiracies and hate speech aimed at Jews around the world. Unfortunately, Twitter is doing nothing to address this problem. It reminds me of Niemler's words that appear prominently on a wall of the Holocaust Museum in Washington." He is referring to the German priest who was one of the opponents of the Nazis in the Holocaust.
Saranga then quoted Niemler's full statement:
"First they came and took the communists - and I didn't raise my voice, because I wasn't a communist;
Then they came and took the socialists - and I did not raise my voice, because I was not a socialist;
Then they came and took the members of the trade union - and I did not raise my voice, because I was not a member of the trade union;
Then they came and took the Jews - and I did not raise my voice, because I was not Jewish;
Then they came and took me - and there was no one left to speak for me."
"Nimler's words serve as an indictment of passivity and indifference during the Holocaust," concluded Saranga, who added the hashtags #Holocaust and #Antisemitism to his tweet and tagged Elon Musk.
This is not the first time that it has been claimed that there is a connection between Musk and an increase in antisemitism on Twitter: a report by the International Research Institute ISD published in March revealed that the average weekly number of antisemitic tweets on the social network jumped by 105% since the billionaire purchased the platform and promised to make it "an arena of freedom of expression."